Back on the up – 31% rise in UK online Car Hire Searches since November

London, 23 March, 2010 - Online car hire search volume in January 2010 was up 31% on November 2009, reveals the latest report from leading independent specialist search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) consulting and technology firm, Greenlight. According to the report, 'Car Hire Sector Report - Issue 4', car hire-related search volumes totalled 1.5 million in January compared to 1.1 million in November.

Greenlight used industry data to classify 356 of the most popular global destinations that people in the UK travel to, and profiled which search terms they used to find car hire companies in each location and how popular each search term was. Greenlight also took a set of generic keywords, which are not destination-specific but are also used when searching for car hire.

'Car hire' was the most queried term totalling 246,000 searches and accounting for 16% of all car hire-related searches in January. 'Car rentals' followed with 165,000 (11%). The UK was the most searched for individual location.

Searches specifically for worldwide destinations (not including the UK and Ireland), accounted for 675,000 in January. The two most searched for terms related to Spain; 'Car hire Spain' and 'Car hire Malaga'. In fact searches for 'Car hire Spain' increased by 23% since Greenlight's previous sector report, as UK consumers looked to book holidays for later in the year. Interestingly, despite this upsurge in search volume, Spain-specific sites CarSpain and DoYouSpain both dropped out of Greenlight's league table since September.

In Greenlight's top 60 league table which charts the most visible websites, CarRentals remained the most visible site in natural search* achieving 49% share of voice. This was a decrease of 5% since September 2009. EasyCar followed with 38%. It attained lower visibility for high volume driving keywords compared to CarRentals. However, since September 2009, it increased its share of voice by 6% which saw it replace TravelSupermarket at position two.

(Table 1 showing Greenlight's top 5 of the 60 most visible Car hire websites in natural search, shows below. If you are unable to view it please contact the press office)

Table 1: Top 5 of the 60 most visible car hire websites in natural search, UK

Category No. Domain Monthly reached volume Monthly missed volume % reached
Natural Search 1 678,579 711,842 49%
  2 533,033 857,388 38%
  3 461,606 928,815 33%
  4 377,884 1,012,537 27%
  5 353,695 1,036,726 25%

Source: Greenlight

Greenlight conducted a detailed level of monitoring and analysis to determine which advertisers appeared in the paid search** space. An advertiser's share of voice is based on how often they were present in Google, which ad position they bid for, and the associated search volume for the keywords they bid on.

CarHire3000 was the most visible advertiser in January achieving 79% share of voice. TravelSupermarket followed with 77%. One notable mover was Enterprise. It increased its visibility in paid search by 20% since September 2009. This saw it ascend Greenlight's top 60 league table from position 19 to seven.

Of the top 10 advertisers in paid search, six were direct providers and four were aggregators. This contrasts with other travel sectors, particularly flights and hotels, where paid search is more aggregator-dominated.

(Table 2 showing Greenlight's top 5 of the 60 most visible car hire advertisers in paid search, shows below. If you are unable to view it please contact the press office)

Table 2: Top 5 of the 60 most visible Car hire advertisers in paid search, UK

Category No. Advertiser % share of voice
Paid Search 1 79%
  2 77%
  3 71%
  4 56%
  5 44%

Source: Greenlight

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